Coleg Gwent has successfully been granted The Carers Federation Quality Standard in Carer Support (QSCS) accreditation for the next three years, recognising that they go the extra mile to support young carers in further education.
There are around 30,000 young carers under the age of 25 in Wales (Social Care Wales) and the fact that they spend so much time caring takes its toll on their education, physical health and emotional wellbeing. As a result, young adult carers are three times more likely to be out of education, employment, or training than other young people, and five times more likely to drop out of college. However, Coleg Gwent recognises that it is difficult for learners who have caring roles to manage their studies alongside their caring responsibilities, but they believe this shouldn’t hold them back from being able to complete their qualifications.
The Carers Federation QSCS was developed by carers to provide accreditation and training for organisations like Coleg Gwent who want to support young carers as much as possible. It helps to raise awareness, remove some of the barriers for carers, develop appropriate policies and procedures, and improve access to support, by demonstrating good practice in supporting carers in the wider community.
The Learning and Work Institute is now working in partnership with The Carers Federation to improve the support that young carers receive in further education colleges. So, by understanding young carers’ needs, putting a network of support in place, and developing effective working partnerships with local services, the QSCS accreditation will give Coleg Gwent’s young carers good opportunities to benefit from learning and reduce their caring burden, so they can fulfil their potential and enjoy their studies.
June Bridgman, Head of Learner Services at the City of Newport Campus said: “We believe that young carers have the right to learn, enjoy and achieve their potential, and obtaining the QSCS accreditation has made us aware of possible barriers they face, enabling us to develop appropriate policies and procedures to support them. It empowers our staff to be better informed, with access to resources, additional information and training to identify learners with caring roles early in the academic year, and to create a web of pro-active and accessible support around them.”
Thanks to the QSCS accredited status, Coleg Gwent has already identified a higher percentage of young carers early at enrolment this year compared to last year, who will now be supported to achieve their potential. They’ll be surrounded by a network of support to improve their wellbeing and maximise their learning opportunities, helping them successfully complete their studies.